Sunday, November 21, 2010

D.I.T.C. (Special Guest Blogger Edition)

I know from week to week I post rap songs and the original sample they use and I wanted to expand it for this post. For this post I wanted to bring in my friend in and also Blogger Tia Olivia Brown Scott as the special guest blogger for this post. In this post she picks at me and up and coming Flint Music Producer Brandon Corder brains about the process how me and him go about looking for samples, what we listen for to create different concepts. So let me stop right here before I give away the whole interview and let her take over the show!

The art of making music is a skill that has to be well-crafted and appreciated all at once. Sometimes, we get caught up in the artist on the microphone when more than often, it's the song's harmony that's actually making our heads nod.

It's the right placement of a certain snare that causes instant smiles or a beautiful string arrangement that pulls at our heart strings that makes us really feel the song and helps us to connect with the artist.

With that said, good production is the foundation to a good song and the using of samples and various forms of eclectic instrumentation only adds more flavor to this melting pot of melodies.
However, not everyone is blessed with the ability of putting music together. It takes a certain person with an ear and love for the art of production and what it stands for.

Brandon Bell and Brandon Corder are two men who definitely have the ear and the love so without further ado, let's take an intimate look inside their minds as they discuss the art of production, its process, sampling, and much more. Walk with me.

How long have you been making music and what made you want to get into production?

B.Corder: I have been making music since I was about 12 or 13 and I’m 25 now. I got into music production because I got infatuated with taking sounds putting them together to create moods and it became a way of how I expressed myself and thoughts I was thinking.

B.Bell: Well I haven’t been making music; my part of the production process is going through old records and just sitting listening to them, and trying to find dope samples to use. What made me get into was because over the years I’ve grown into loving different genres of music and also wanting to see Hip-Hop or just music in general be taken to another level with different influences.

Who are your musical influences?

B.Bell: Wow! Where do I begin, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack, Jay-Z, J-Dilla, Phyllis Hyman, Teddy Riley, Roger Troutman, just to name a few…*Laughs

B.Corder: There are a lot of musical influences but just to name a few Kanye West, J. Dilla, Just Blaze, Jay-Z, Tribe Called Quest, Musiq Soulchild, Timbaland, Pharrell, Mary J. Blige, and the list goes on and on.

What is your inspiration when going through the creative process?

B.Corder: During the creative process I’m mostly inspired by my moods and thoughts. Usually when I create I’m trying to express some sort of thought, which usually inspires the final song as well. So I usually go off that thought and create around it to paint a picture.

B.Bell: I know when Me and B.Corder go through a process; it’s like Guru and Jay-Z process from the movie Fade to Black. We take some time just to sit down, and we really don’t do too much talking, and let the play music. Our body language says enough if something is dope or it's not going to be used. I think the inspiration for me is to see the passion that was put into those records and be able to see them come back to life in a different way but at the same time innovative for the culture.

Do you search for a specific sound when going through records for samples or does the feeling just hit you when you hear it?

B.Bell: I know working with B.Corder and Nameless the processes are totally different. I remember when B.Corder started to work on “On My Way to Tokyo”, we were coming from an interview with Robo Rob and we were on the expressway. He was explaining he wanted the album to sound like a movie, have that same big sound like Kanye West’s “Late Registration”. So I went home and listened to Late Registration a couple of times, and started to go digging. I came upon different Library albums from composers as J.C. Pierric, Daniel janin, and Leon Ware that had music that gave you that rush you might feel looking at certain scenes from a movie. With Nameless, I know he wants to go left field as possible, so I really go for the unconventional samples that no one would go after because his sound is so unique, he wants to keep pushing the envelop to better his craft and his signature sound.

B.Corder: Yes and No. I do have a specific sound that I mainly listen for but at the same time I’m always will to experiment if I hear something that catches my ear. I love strings and horns so by default I listen for things that are real stringy, if that makes sense. *Laughs

Ever worry about the legal consequences that come along with sampling?

B.Corder: Yes and No to this also. Of course I don’t want to be sued but at the same time I don’t worry about it much. As long as everything is handled legally, things will be ok. It’s just a added step to the song process.

B.Bell: Well we’ve seen what has happen to people when they don’t go through the right channels to get stuff cleared, they get sued. My thing is make sure you do what you have to do to get it cleared, and also make sure you’re ready to sign a hefty check to clear them. If you can’t do that and you want the world to hear your music, put it out for free so it won’t be a problem with the person that originally made the song because you’re not getting any profit from it.

Who are some of your favorite producers today?

B.Bell: I love Black Milk; I think he’s really set the bar with his latest album, Ski BeatzJust Blaze , Justice League ,  9th Wonder, Madlib, Focus, and The Neptunes.

B.Corder: Today I listen to a lot of Kanye because he’s always evolving and coming with new innovative ideas, he’s a natural trendsetter. I’m always checking for anything that Pharrell puts his hands on. Ski Beats is like reinvented these days, so I’m always listening to what he’s doing now. I keep my ears open to everything pretty much.

As far as sampling goes, who do you feel like is the best to ever do it?

B.Corder: Tough question. I don’t really think there’s a best to sample. Everybody samples different in my opinion. I love the way J. Dilla samples, I love that whole Roc-A-Fella era when they really brought back soul sampling with Blueprint. Bink is another underrated producer. I love the way that DJ Toomp takes samples but then he puts a southern twist on them.  Ski Beats samples differently as well. They are all dope in their own ways though, its hard to say who does it the best..

B.Bell: Damn….that’s a hard one I mean it’s really a toss up between J-Dilla, and Just Blaze, but I have to pick one, it has to be Dilla.

What artists would fit the best on your production?

B.Corder: There are many artists that I would love to work with that I think fits my production. Of course people like Jay-Z and Kanye West because their so diverse. Curren$y fits my production well and luckily we had a chance to do work together already, matter of fact that whole DD172 camp fits my production. Put it like this, anybody that’s actually saying something in a song I can adjust to just about.

B.Bell: I think B.Corder's production is people who are really passionate about music. I can personally say the money is not the biggest thing, it’s about the love and the acknowledgment you get and if you not in it for that, you might as well get a demo of Fruit Loops Program. 

What is your take on the current state of Hip-Hop and R&B?

B.Bell: We have came a long way in the past 5 years. It was moments I thought we lost it, but it’s coming back around and you see more people passionate about the art and also not letting the labels control their music. But at the same time it’s still a lot of garbage out there but people have a choice now which is great.

B.Corder: I was just having this conversation the other day. I don’t know where mainstream Hip-Hop and R&B is headed, it’s all watered down these days for sure. The Independent labels are where it’s at these days. It seems to me that more and more independent labels are forming and they are having their own in house producers and artists and that’s the circle of people they deal with. People are taking advantage of the internet opportunities and making it happen for themselves instead of depending on these bigger labels. 

What are some of the up and coming projects on your agenda?

B.Corder: I have a few things that I am working on actually. One that’s already in-stores is Trademark’s “Issue 2” and this month he is set to release “Issue 3” which I had a chance to work with him and Curren$y again and it will be in stores nationwide on November 23rd. I did some scores for the Paris Hilton Show which I’m not sure when that airs or what network will end up being on. I’m also working on a few projects of my own that will be announced at a later date.

B.Bell: Well I’m working on J.A.’s debut album “Hello Saturday”, “No Blinkers” with a other Hip-Hop artists from Flint, and also a beat EP with Nameless called “School Daze” ( I want to say that’s the name)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Let the Drums Take Me There......

Here's something I wrote awhile back about a very influential person in Hip-Hop....

It’s 12:12 A.M. and I’ve been pondering writing this note for past week or so because I didn’t know how to approach writing this so here we go. I remember in February of 2006, I heard J-Dilla had passed away. I was devastated about his passing. I’m not going to front I didn’t know about dude like I should until his death. I went through his discography and saw all the people he worked with and seeing that he contribute to my love for Hip-Hop and what it stood for. Just looking from the Pharcyde to De La Soul and seeing the songs he produced, I could remember where I was at hearing those records and I cherish those memories because it was apart of my childhood. I remember just listening to those songs and just noticing how the drums just stood out from any other hip hop producer like he was making his sound stand out and giving Hip-Hop that smooth but that snear kicking sound that makes the MC say some of illest shit you would ever hear. Dilla came along during a time where Hip-Hop didn’t have a sound nor direction because people including myself was so caught up in the whirlwind of West Coast Sound we forgot about the essence of where everything had began. Dilla would take some of the most off the wall samples and just put his twist on them and make a record that just took it there Note: (Pharcyde “Runnin”). Dilla was the one that held it down for awhile before that second run came along for the Realness of Hip-Hop.

So back to his death, I remember when Common came out with the album “BE”, I think that was his present to the world before he left because some of those records he made it was as if he knew he was leaving soon and just wanted to be apart of a masterpiece. With songs like “Love Is”, and my favorite “It’s Your World” it’s like besides Common telling a story over the beat, it was if you didn’t need Common because Dilla gave him the blueprint to his words with just painting a picture with the beat. I remember just letting all the windows down in my car and just letting that song play constantly because it was as if he was living right on Dupont St. and seeing what I seen everyday. Another memory I have is being in the car with my Ex-girlfriend and she would get mad at me because I would just play that song so much ,but it’s songs like that that makes you zone out and just reflect on things and thinking what’s next for you in this game we called LIFE. So with this being the month he passed and was born, I just been listening to his music and just appreciating that I had to chance to hear one of the greatest if not the GREATEST and the impact he left on the listeners, producers, rappers etc. So in conclusion he will be missed greatly and I will let the Drums Take Me There….

Saturday, November 13, 2010

D.I.T.C. Jay-Z "Addicted To The Game" x The Jackson 5 "Give It Up"

This Jay-Z song is one of my personal favorites. This song is unreleased, but spread like wild fires once it was out and was on everyone's mix CD in high school. I hope you enjoy the music. PEACE!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Soulful Sounds in Cinema....

Back in the 70's, you had a lot of movies that hit the silver screen with Soul and R&B artist doing the scores to the movies. The artists grasp different moments from scenes in the movies that a instrumentation couldn't do. Looking back to that era, it seemed great to see black artist being embraced to show their talents in a movie and most importantly seeing the genre expand besides on urban radio. With this post I'll pick some of my favorite songs from cinema and give you a back drop from it. Enjoy!!

Willie Hutch "Foxy Brown Overture"

Mr. Hutch ruled the 70's with his soulful compositions from movies like "The Mack" to "Foxy Brown". Willie really embraced the struggle Foxy had to go through the movie trying avenge her boyfriend's death. While the composition plays, Willie comes with this soulful plead to Foxy to keep pushing and don't let him down. Even though the song is short, Willie gets his points across with the horns and strings assisting him...sound so soulful don't you agree.

Phyllis Hyman "Magic Mona"

The late great Phyllis Hyman blessed her presence with the soundtrack "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh". It was a lot of great records on this soundtrack, but "Magic Mona" steal the cake. The record embodied the character in the movie which was Mona the the Physic. The record has a real big majestic sound, and the lyrics behind the composition is great. It gives you the same feel that the character Mona gives you with her big personality in the movie.

Marvin Gaye "Don't Mess With Mr. T."

I mean do I have to say his name really?? This man contribution really put this movie on top with his soulful voice and willing to embrace the identity of the movie, and make it his life so the music could come to life. With the "Trouble Man" Soundtrack, it wasn't a lot of singing. It seemed as if Marvin watched the movie and took different scenes or characters brought their character to life through his music. With the song "Don't Mess With Mr. T." He digs into the character "T" and his background of being the one not to be messed with,  because he's coming back to get revenge.

James Brown "The Boss"

The Godfather of Soul put his larger than life but his demanding attitude in this soundtrack "Black Caesar". "The Boss" was a great record off the soundtrack, and also gave a  anthem for people who thought they were bosses as well. This song proved to be a crossover into reality for some and becoming a instant classic.

I could go on and on and on...but I'm not. I'll you let go guys go dig up some more songs, and enjoy more of then for your own convince. I hope you enjoyed this post. PEACE

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Todd Smith At His Finest.....

If you're old enough, you remember when LL first hit the scene and he shook the rap world up. As time went on, it just seemed as if the fire wasn't in him anymore, and he went for a softer approach dealing with the ladies. This is some audio I came up on, and for the old LL Cool J fans, I'm sure this won't let you down. ENJOY!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Ipod Shuffle

No need for me to say nothing about this post, the music says enough....

D.I.T.C. Black Milk "Losing Out" & Cam'ron "Let's Talk About It" x The Alan Parsons Project "Let's Talk About Me"

Yes...people...YES it's that time favorite post D.I.T.C. . I've been playing the record "Let's Talk About Me" by The Alan Parsons Project for sometime. I always said it would be dope if someone sampled it. Well it happen finally, Black Milk blessed his talents bring the record back to life and Cam'ron compliments the sample by putting his signature Dip Set sound on it by slowing down the sample and put his Simple Simon flow all over it. I hope you enjoy it



I know I was suppose to write on this like week ago, but to me, sometimes you have to sit on a thought and let it grown until it's the right time for it to blossom. With this post, I'm not going to give you info on his life, his career, and etc, because you can Google that. What I'm going to do is write on the impact he had behind those two turn tables that sparked a magical time in Hip-Hop and the culture.

Jam Master Jay a name that's held highly when it comes to Hip-Hop, he's had a great effect on everyone he's touched personally to someone just picking up a RUN-DMC record. I can remember as a child sitting in my living room, and watching RUN-DMC nodding my head to the song. But what caught my eye was JMJ (Jam Master Jay) and what he was doing in the background. JMJ didn't rap but he brought a element to the group that RUN or DMC couldn't do and that was bringing those two turn tables to life. JMJ would be on stage holding his own right along with RUN and DMC but scratching, and rocking the crowd and keeping them in tune with the MC's. It got to a point to where people loved what he was doing so much they have to give him his own spot during the set.

I can talk about it all the day, but you have to see it for yourself

JMJ didn't only contribute his talents on the turntables but as knowledge about original. When Hip-Hop was first introduced, you had groups dressing in these weird, crazy, and kind of disturbing costumes.

Like this...

Yea weird right. When JMJ saw this, he told the group that we need to be original, and go against the grain. With that being said, they came with the black hats, Levi jeans, all black leather outfits, and their infamous Addidas sneakers with no shoe strings. With that move, it proved that being original and against the grain works when you're building on the art and you want to see it continue the grow. Most importantly, other MC's start creating their image so they could have their identity, and be able to stand out.

The impact Jay made on the art of Deejaying was powerful. It was other DJ's that came before Jay like Grand Master Flash, Dj Hollywood, Red Alert, and others that did it great, but Jay showed that you could your create your own identity using your that talent. The way he cuts, and blend records was incredible, but most importantly controlling the crowd without having to say one word. Other DJ's like DJ Scratch, Kid Capri, Minster. Cee, and others built on what Jay started took it another level.

Even though Jay has been gone for some time now, his presence is felt when you see a DJ in concert, or you hear a old RUN-DMC record, and like DMC said, "You'll see Jay again my friend!"